By Jessica Rogers
Sadly with the pandemic, many of us are traveling a lot less than in 2019. I used to be on a plane multiple times a month for work (or using travel points for vacations), but I haven’t gotten up the courage yet to head to the airport. On the positive side of things, it’s given me more time to explore the bounty of the Bay Area. One of the gems in its crown is charming Sausalito.
The city of Sausalito has waterfront end-to-end on its eastern side and is framed by the gorgeous hills of the Marin Headlands on its western side so there are plenty of outdoor activities to be enjoyed here (perfect for social distancing!). One of my favorite activities is kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the Bay. Sea Trek makes it easy with year-round rentals. You can spend hours exploring the Sausalito waterfront and its quirky houseboat community.
If you prefer to have someone do the boating for you, SF Bay Adventures is your go-to resource for a whole fleet of boats, either for public or private sails. The Matthew Turner tall ship is a 132’ classic vessel built right in Sausalito. This impressive ship offers various opportunities to get out on the bay, including a 3-hour sunset sail with reserved seating areas so you can stay distanced from others. The Schooner Freda B also offers unique options, including a Full Moon Sail or private charters if you’d like to take the family.
A quick drive west will bring you to Rodeo Beach with plenty of parking and options to either lounge on the wide beach or take a hike along the coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Go as far as you like along the endless trail system in the Headlands.
Of course, all this activity will make you hungry. Food options abound in Sausalito, and most take advantage of the gorgeous waterfront setting. Le Garage, a French bistro set on the water in the Schoonmaker Marina, is a standout. The tables are widely distanced and heat lamps and umbrellas are available. Their brunch is amazing … get ready to feast on their decadent quiche, and wash it down with a delicious Peach Bellini (my fave, although my friend adores their Kir!).
In downtown Sausalito, I am among the many local fans that adore the Italian food at Angelino, which is run by the lovely Ancona family. Tables here face directly onto the Bay with a clear shot of Angel Island and San Francisco. Plus points for COVID – they recently installed some outdoor heaters so you can linger longer. If you’re looking for the quintessential Sausalito experience, this is it.
For something more casual on the water, The Joinery is a neighborhood favorite. Order at the bar and find a table outside overlooking Richardson Bay. They have a rotating menu of beer and wine and the food is delicious and well-portioned. I dream about their crispy fried chicken sandwich, balanced perfectly with a nice arugula and fennel topping and a spicy aioli. The fried brussel sprouts are also amazing … I think the pandemic has me craving comfort food!
Stores are currently open at limited capacity in Marin, so if you’re in the mood for spending, Sausalito has you covered here, too. My favorite new store in town is Salty on Caledonia Street, which carries a broad range of well-designed goodies from the local area and beyond.
Of course, a trip to Sausalito wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Heath Ceramics store. I could spend hours in here dreaming of ways to fill my kitchen cabinets with their dishes and serveware.
To enjoy Sausalito for multiple nights, hit up one of the luxury hotels in the area. A favorite is the Inn Above Tide, which sits directly on the Bay. Perfect for a romantic getaway or just to get out of the same house you’ve been sitting in since March.
The best thing about Sausalito is that it’s easy to visit … just a 10-minute drive from San Francisco, or 40 minutes from SFO, if you have the courage to fly. With most of the city based around outdoor activities and dining, it’s the perfect place to visit and imagine the pandemic away.